Mark Birchall, head chef at the Michelin-starred L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, has been named the 2011 Roux Scholar.
Birchall, who had entered the prestigious competition for the fourth time this year, won the title following a fierce cook-off in the kitchens of London's Westminster Kingsway College yesterday (18 April).
Competitors were asked to cook carré de veau rôti Orloff, roast best end of veal Orloff style with kidney on skewers, stuffed vegetables and truffle jus, in two hours and 30 minutes.
Their culinary skills were judged by a panel of industry experts headed by scholarship founder Michel Roux, his son Alain and nephew Michel Jnr. The judges also included David Nicholls, Gary Rhodes, Brian Turner and James Martin.
As the winner of the Roux Scholarship, Birchall has won a week's paid work experience in New York, courtesy of Compass Group's Restaurant Associates, an expenses-paid trip to Champagne Gosset in Ay and a trip to visit the Caffe Musetti roasting factory in Milan. He has also won a three-month all expenses paid stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant of his choice.
Speaking after the award ceremony, Birchall told Caterer he was delighted to have won the Roux Scholarship. "This is the fourth time I have entered this competition and it was my last shot so I'm absolutely thrilled to have won this time," he said.
Michel Roux Jnr added: "It was a very complex and difficult dish to understand. But Mark was the clear winner. It was a quick and unanimous decision, which made it fairly easy."
The five runners up were:
Richard Edwards, Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Wiltshire
Pramod Ghadge, Restaurant Associates, London
Nick Whatmough, Restaurant Associates, Barclays Wealth, London
Neven Vanderzee, Galvin At Windows, London
Quinton Bennett, Haymarket Hotel, London
By Kerstin Kühn
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